We're all taught about fire at a young age. It's dangerous, and without it humanity would likely not have developed as it has. So how about a game where you are transported to the Stone Age and take control of a Neanderthal who is on a journey to locate fire? This is the basis of the eShop title that goes by the name Fire: Ungh's Quest. Developed by the team behind the Deponia series - Daedalic - and previously released on computer and mobile platforms, the game has now made its way across to the Wii U.
Fire is a point and click puzzle title that takes players on an adventure with an outgoing Neanderthal named Ungh, after the village flame fizzles out on his very first night on the job. Ungh is banished from his local settlement and it's now your responsibility to help him find fire.
You're placed in control with no guidance at all, but despite this you must press on by moving from scene to scene, tapping and button pressing until you discover a clue or solve a puzzle. It's a matter of piecing together a series of scenes and finding certain items or even interacting with other characters to perform specific actions so that Ungh can progress. Frustratingly, solutions aren't always as sensible as you might expect, and a bit of guesswork or a more odd approach is often required to find an answer. This often detracts from any logical problem solving that was in motion.
This point and click title is seemingly targeted towards children rather than adults. Admittedly, the game provides very little reason to be motivated about Ungh's adventure - or truly care for his wellbeing in the first place. For children, the challenge will be the point and click gameplay and logic required to solve puzzles. This will spur some players on, whilst others may be unable to build-up the required level of enthusiasm to persist.
The artwork in Ungh's Quest is likely to appeal to a younger audience, with well-crafted cartoon environments such as prehistoric desert plains and vibrant character animations of even the most scary of creatures - this also removes any sense of intimidation in terms of the game's accessbility. The sound and music also hit all the right notes - with full symphonic soundtracks and quality SFX. One downer is how clunky the Wii U GamePad controls feel at times - fortunately there is an option to play the game on the big screen with the Wii Remote.
Fire: Ungh's Quest is functional, and has classic cartoon graphics and quality audio, but is ultimately an insipid offering. Right down to the name, it makes little effort to stand out from the crowd. This is definitely a title for a younger audience - although it may even struggle to hold their attention.